With the lack of enforcement of the domestic violence law, this issue is still a social problem in Cambodia. Domestic violence is a human rights violation, and against the law, and it should be taken seriously.
Domestic violence is violence that occurs in the home and between spouses. There are several types of domestic violence, including physical aggression such as hitting, kicking and throwing objects, to threats, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, controlling behaviour, intimidation and stalking. Overall, domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviours to control the person in the relationship.
The Khmer Rouge regime left the country with the destruction of a modern societal infrastructure, violence and death. Experts have stated that the survivors of the regime, who were children at the time and are now adults, have turned to violence, because this was what they have lived through and witnessed.
I think that with the limited implementation of the law, and the corruption in the law, it has led to the serious issue of domestic violence in society. This is a serious problem for victims, families and society, as domestic violence is physically and psychologically damaging. Let’s not blame the past for the current issue, but move forward to help in the fight against domestic violence.
The Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC) Protection Program protects the victims by providing counseling, literacy and vocational skills training, as well as legal presentation. In 2011, CWCC provided direct assistance to 363 domestic violence cases, more than 143 rape cases and 76 trafficking cases combined. In addition, the program provides drop-in crisis centre facilities and emergency medical care, and a place to stay in a safe shelter.
Another aspect of the Protection Program is reintegration and repatriation. This program aims to assist women to return to their homes, workplaces and communities and assists women in finding jobs and setting up their own business.
The Legal Program is an important part of CWCC’s Protection Program as its goal is to set deterrence for perpetrators and to hold them accountable for their criminal actions. More importantly, it empowers women to speak up and remove themselves from the current abusive relationship and situation.
Community intervention is encouraged, as this is not a private, family problem. Educating and bringing awareness of the law and the services for the victims are important in decreasing domestic violence in our society. We must work together to help in the fight against domestic violence.
During the night of June 23, 1993, an American, John Wayne Bobbitt, raped his wife, Lorena, after a night of partying. In 1994, he was tried and acquitted for spousal rape. Lorena was fed up and one night went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, entered the bedroom where John was sleeping, and cut off nearly half of his penis.
Lorena Bobbitt was taken into custody, and tried, and she revealed details of their abusive relationship and stated that her husband sexually, physically and emotionally abused her during their marriage. The case brought worldwide attention and addressed the serious issue of domestic violence.
If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, please contact cwcc.org.kh for assistance.
The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.